Friday news and reviews

Here’s a look at the arts stories making news headlines – as always, because it’s a Friday, movie reviews dominate…

Art

A beautiful collision

Images of city and country meet head-on in “Urban View – Rural Sight,” a rewarding show at Mpls Photo Center.

– Mary Abbe, Star Tribune

Rudy Fig: 100 Creatives

The magical forests, Candylands, and underwater worlds that Rudy Fig’s characters inhabit are sweet ones filled with melting ice cream lace, brightly colored mushrooms, and octopus hats. But beneath this girly exterior are darker and deeper meanings; portraits also feature isolation, bruised knees, solitary drinking, and questioning gazes.

– Jessica Armbruster, City Pages

Art and chips in the Uptown of Northeast Minneapolis

Whatever this little neighborhood of Northeast chooses to call itself, it’s ground zero for the local arts gallery scene.

– Max Sparber, MinnPost.com

Movies

A “Year” to remember

The latest from director Mike Leigh brims with complexity, heart and humor.

By Colin Covert, Star Tribune

As with all of Mike Leigh’s gifts, it’s the thought that counts

The hierarchies and inconsistencies of human behavior are the meat of Leigh’s films. This one struck me as especially meaty because I detected a layer of subtext that the film never addresses head-on but that I couldn’t stop thinking about: Why do Tom and Gerri spend so much time with desperately unhappy people?

– Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

An epic trek for survival

When a ragtag group of prisoners escapes a Soviet gulag, it’s a long walk to India.

– Colin Covert, Star Tribune

Survival story thrives on keen direction, dynamic cinematography

“The Way Back” seems like it could have been made 40 or 50 years ago, and I mean that in a good way.

– Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

White collar blues

Change arrives fast when three laid-off execs find themselves on the outside looking in.

– Colin Covert, Star Tribune

It appears the writers decided to lie down on the job

While everything was going wrong in the downsizing drama “The Company Men,” I kept remembering how much went right in “Up in the Air.”

– Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

At last, a romcom that’s a comedy about romance

There has been a lot of dopey talk about whether starring in the sex comedy “No Strings Attached” might hurt Natalie Portman’s shot at an Oscar. Now that the movie is in theaters, that question can be answered: It won’t.

– Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

French docu has a cagey way of gauging people’s thoughts

There is only one character in a new French documentary and her name is Nenette.

Incidentally, she is also an orangutan.

– Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

“No Strings Attached”: Stereotypes in reverse are still stereotypes

While No Strings Attached is entertaining and comical (most remarkably with Kevin Kline successfully filling the get-your-boyfriend-to-see-it-with-you role as Adam’s outrageously self-indulgent father), anyone expecting a more progressive deviation from the traditional romantic comedy formula will be disappointed.

– Sarah Heuer, TC Daily Planet

Michael Moore: Indie film struggling, but here to stay

If crowded previews are a bellwether of healthy box office performance, independent films may be on the cusp of a rebound.

– Colin Covert, Star Tribune

Music

Ramsey Lewis Trio at the Dakota, 1/19/11

One of the most popular pianists in modern jazz history, known for his pop approach and gospel-inspired soul jazz legacy of hits and standards, the legendary Ramsey Lewis, now 75, packed house at the Dakota for two wonderful and at times delicate sets that spanned his now six-decade career.

– Danny Sigelman, City Pages

Puppets bring power to Minnesota Orchestra’s ‘Magic Flute’

On Thursday night, I went to an opera and a puppet show broke out.

– Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press

These goons are a band of cut-ups

The Goondas have amassed injuries – and insults – to become one of First Avenue’s best new bands.

– CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER, Star Tribune

Lissie at the Cedar, 1/20/11

Temperatures outside may be abominably subzero, but for the crowd assembled inside the Cedar Cultural Center for Lissie, last night was anything but cold.

– Natalie Gallagher

Nellie McKay: A one-person “Glee” with music from many eras

She’s still smiling. And so am I – and probably everyone else who was at the Dakota on Thursday night.

– Jon Bream, Star Tribune

The Tribe and Big Cats! aim for ‘real hip-hop without the elitism’

The fact that they do not wish to adhere to strict guidelines of how independent rap is supposed to sound helps make their debut album, Forward Thinkers, Movers, Shakers, live up to its name.

– Jack Spencer, City Pages

Stage

Feelings raw over the casting of a play

A dispute has erupted over the choice of a Korean-American to play the lead in “WTF,” written by a Hmong-American playwright.

– Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

‘Odyssey’ gets a new look at Park Square

William Randall Beard’s adaptation of The Odyssey, which is currently finishing previews and opens this Friday at Park Square Theatre, may not be exactly the story you remember reading in school.

– Ed Huyck, City Pages

Long myth’s journey onto stage

How will “The Odyssey,” Homer’s roaming, searching epic, come to life within the confines of a stage?

– GRAYDON ROYCE, Star Tribune

Berlin’s “Bonanza” at the Walker Art Center: A five-screen salute to a one-horse town

Slowly it’s revealed that the relationships among the town residents are more complicated than they might seem–as are the residents themselves.

– Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet

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